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NOIDA, India–Dinesh Yadav’s neighbors describe him as a businessman who came to the New Delhi area with little and built a bus company that was the envy of the poor urban village where he lived.

But Mr. Yadav’s apparent success story took a dark turn last month, when a New Delhi woman was gang-raped aboard one of his buses. She later died of the injuries sustained in the attack. The driver of the bus, Ram Singh, and five other men face charges of raping and murdering the 23-year-old woman in a trial that begins Thursday. They also allegedly beat a male companion who accompanied her. The six accused men are in judicial custody and couldn’t be reached for comment.
Now, Delhi police allege Mr. Yadav was running an illegal operation. He was arrested Wednesday in a village in the Delhi suburb of Noida for providing a false address while registering 10 buses, a Delhi police spokesman said. The police have up to 90 days to investigate charges of cheating and false affirmation to a public servant if they are to formally charge him in court.
Neither Mr. Yadav nor his immediate family members could be reached by phone or in person at their Noida home. On Wednesday afternoon, his office in Noida’s Sector-62 was shuttered. Several of his buses, whose permits have been cancelled, were parked on a nearby road, with the “Yadav” sign on the side barely visible after a coat of fresh white paint. One employee, a recently hired bus cleaner, slept in one of the buses. Locals said Mr. Yadav’s drivers have all scattered amid scrutiny of the bus company following the rape.
The Dec. 16 rape prompted authorities to take a close look at the role of private chartered buses, such as those owned by Mr. Yadav, in the city’s overburdened transportation network and the lax regulation of them.

Amol Sharma/The Wall Street Journal
The Yadav Travels office, seen on the right, has been shut down.

Delhi’s bus system is made up of about 5,500 city-owned buses operated by the Delhi Transport Corporation and some 5,000 private chartered buses, which are licensed to pick up passengers at public bus stops and handle school and tourist transportation, according to Delhi’s traffic police.
Passengers in Delhi complain about the shortage of city-owned buses to carry them across the city, Satyendra Garg, Delhi’s joint commissioner of police for traffic, told India Real Time.
The chartered buses are responsible for most of the violations of city rules, he said, including jumping traffic lights and deviating from guidelines specific for private buses that assign them “specific starting and finishing points, pre-defined routes and passenger lists.” Drivers from private bus companies often aren’t on company payrolls, making it hard to track them down when necessary, Mr. Garg said.
Mr. Yadav, a 35-year-old father of two girls in their early teens, was described by neighbors as a man of simple means who had big plans. He came to Noida as an adolescent without his parents, leaving his home in Etawah, a town about 180 miles southeast in Uttar Pradesh state, according to long-time neighbor Jai Chand.


Amol Sharma/The Wall Street Journal
The inside of a Yadav Travels bus.

He started off working as a cleaner and conductor in a chartered bus, sometimes sleeping in the vehicle because he couldn’t afford a home, Mr. Chand said. He saved some money, and after a few years managed to take out loans in order to purchase his own bus. Then, Mr. Chand and other neighbors say, he got married and arranged financing to buy a small house in Navada-Rasulpura, an urban village in Noida where barely-clothed children play in the streets alongside wandering cows and goats.
“He is an honest man – this is just a situation of trouble falling on his head,” Mr. Chand said.
The single bus expanded into a fleet and a company called Yadav Travels, whose services included ferrying children to schools, carrying tourists and sometimes picking up city passengers at bus stops.
A few years ago, Mr. Yadav sold his house, neighbors say, and shifted to an apartment in Rajat Vihar, a middle-class neighborhood in Noida of clean, tree-lined streets and four-story housing units with Maruti and Honda sedans parked out front. He was on the way up.


Amol Sharma/The Wall Street Journal
The Noida home neighbors say Dinesh Yadav bought and lived in after getting married.

Mr. Yadav’s office in Sector-62 was just opened a few months ago. In a poor neighborhood of hole-in-the-wall establishments including a snack shop, a tea stall and a hair salon, his two-story office had a glass storefront and nice sofas.
Mr. Yadav’s apartment in Rajat Vihar was padlocked shut on Wednesday, flower garlands strung in front with a picture of the Hindu deity Krishna hanging above. Neighbors say they don’t recall seeing Mr. Yadav since the Dec. 16 rape brought Yadav Travels under scrutiny.
But one neighbor who is friendly with his wife says she has been around; the two washed their clothes together recently and Mr. Yadav’s wife was sobbing. “I knew what all was going on but didn’t want to ask about it,” the neighbor said, adding that Mr. Yadav’s daughters play with her toddler son. “The family is very nice. (Mr. Yadav) must not have known something like this could ever happen.”
Since the incident, police have launched a crackdown on unlawful bus operations. By Dec. 24, city authorities had cancelled licenses of 150 private buses for “violating rules and carrying passengers without permission,” said Mr. Garg.


Amol Sharma/The Wall Street Journal
The inside of a Yadav Travels bus.

Mr. Garg said authorities are also on a push to suspend the permits of any buses with tinted windows, which are illegal. Reports say the bus the six men were in had tinted windows. It crossed through several police checkpoints without detection that anything irregular was happening, police say, after the men picked up the couple at a bus stop as they returned home from watching “Life of Pi.”
The woman died of organ failure last Saturday in a Singapore hospital where she was receiving emergency care. Her companion was treated at a New Delhi hospital for his injuries and was later released.

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